With an annual impact of more than $40 billion per year, agriculture and related fields are huge business in South Carolina, by far larger than any other industry. While the state is known largely for its connection to tobacco (it ranks fifth in the nation), South Carolina’s farming community is diverse, and the state is a top producer of several other key crops.
The roots of agriculture are historic and deep in South Carolina, and that’s one huge reason why so many people across the state are growing more and more concerned about their potential exposure to a popular but controversial chemical used to kill weeds in agriculture.
Glyphosate, often referred to by the brand name Roundup, is at the center of thousands of lawsuits, including two verdicts in which juries agreed with plaintiffs who claimed they got cancer because they used Roundup.
If you have been exposed to Roundup or personally used it, it’s important for you to understand state law and the background of the scientific and medical controversy surrounding the herbicide.
Glyphosate Use in South Carolina
While the use of glyphosate for farming in South Carolina has declined from the high recorded in 2011, usage is still well over a million pounds, with 1.7 million pounds of the weed killer used in our state in 2016, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, which estimates herbicide use in the lower 48 states. The state also had one of the largest increases in overall glyphosate use between 1992 and 2016, with usage surging an incredible 6,316 percent over the past two decades.
The use patterns of glyphosate in South Carolina largely mirror how the substance is used nationally, with corn and soybeans leading the way in being touched the most by the weed killer. Here’s a look at how South Carolina farmers used glyphosate in 2016:
- Corn: 33%
- Soybeans: 46%
- Wheat: 1%
- Cotton: 14%
- Orchards & grapes: 1%
- All other crops: 5%
South Carolina is a top producer of cotton (11th) and soybeans (22nd), which are two of the crops most frequently targeted across the nation for glyphosate use.
The above data helps you understand how much glyphosate is used in our state, but it’s just one fragment of the whole picture. What’s not covered are the other very popular uses for glyphosate, which are as a weed killer used by professional landscapers and a common way to kill weeds in yards or public spaces.
South Carolina Residents at Risk
Individuals who have directly used Roundup or glyphosate to kill weeds in their yards, in parks or public spaces or on agricultural products are, of course, the ones most likely to have experienced potentially dangerous levels of exposure. These are the people most likely to have had the liquid contact their skin or to have accidentally inhaled or even ingested it.
But those who have never personally used Roundup are not in the clear because multiple rounds of testing have revealed glyphosate is present even in the food you buy at the grocery store. Several independent organizations and even the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have found glyphosate traces in dozens of food products, from beer and wine to breakfast cereal.
The following graph shows the amount of glyphosate applied countrywide. The state of South Carolina clearly is impacted by its agricultural application.
Roundup Cancer Lawsuits in South Carolina
The parent company of Roundup inventor Monsanto, Bayer AG, the German pharma giant, has confirmed that it’s facing nearly 12,000 lawsuits. Those cases are in addition to two verdicts that already have been reached in which separate California juries agreed that Roundup gave two men non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
In the first verdict, which was announced in the fall of 2018, a school groundskeeper claimed that this terminal cancer was a direct result of the Roundup he routinely used on the job. That jury ruled in the man’s favor and awarded him a nine-figure sum that later was reduced by about two-thirds by a judge. The second California verdict, which was reached in March 2019, found jury members agreeing with a decades-long Roundup user who sprayed the chemical around the various properties he owned for several years.
These two cases and the thousands pending are helping raise awareness for those who may have used Roundup. For South Carolina residents who became seriously ill, including being diagnosed with any type of cancer, it’s important to understand how the state could limit your rights in these cases. In our state, product liability lawsuits have a three-year time limit, which means you have only 36 months from the date you are diagnosed with cancer or another disease caused by Roundup to begin legal proceedings.
You also should know that so far, the cases that are proceeding are doing so one-by-one as opposed to being grouped together as a single class action. While this has some potential benefits for consumers in the form of high-sum jury verdicts, it also means that each case will be decided on its merits, so only a qualified attorney can help you determine your plan of action.
Roundup and Its Effect on Human Health
The jury members in California who agreed with their plaintiffs are just the latest groups to be convinced that Roundup causes cancer. Both the World Health Organization and the state of California have listed glyphosate as a probable carcinogen.
That view is bolstered by a growing body of medical and scientific research that’s tying Roundup and glyphosate not only to non-Hodgkin lymphoma but to other serious medical issues, including:
- Childhood brain cancer
- Thyroid cancer
- Breast cancer
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Crohn’s disease
- Celiac disease
- Autism spectrum disorder
How to File a South Carolina Roundup Lawsuit
Keep in mind that South Carolina state law could seriously restrict your window of action in the event that you or a loved one have become ill as a result of your exposure to glyphosate or Roundup. You have just three years from the date you learn the herbicide made you sick to bring legal action.
Remember also that because the cases thus far are not being grouped as a class action, the only way for you to claim damages against Monsanto and Bayer is to consult with a qualified local attorney who is well-educated in the issue and can help you determine the strength of your case.
South Carolina Roundup Cancer Lawsuit Lawyers & Attorneys
The following lawyers handle Roundup cancer lawsuit cases in the state of South Carolina.
McGowan, Hood & Felder
- Location: South Carolina
- Website: https://www.mcgowanhood.com/other-practice-areas/class-actions-mass-torts/south-carolina-trial-attorneys-protecting-clients-cancer-exposure-roundup-herbicide/
- Phone number: 888-302-7546
Richardson, Patrick, Westbrook & Brickman
- Location: Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
- Website: https://www.rpwb.com/personal-injury/roundup-cancer-lawsuit/
- Phone number: 888-293-6883
- U.S. Geological Survey, Estimated Annual Agricultural Pesticide Use. (2017.) Retrieved from https://water.usgs.gov/nawqa/pnsp/usage/maps/county-level/StateLevel/LowEstimate_AgPestUsebyCropGroup92to16.txt
- Reuters, U.S. trial tests claims Roundup weed killer caused cancer. (2019.) Retrieved from https://www.reuters.com/article/us-bayer-glyphosate-lawsuit/us-trial-tests-claims-roundup-weed-killer-caused-cancer-idUSKCN1QD0I8
- The Associated Press, Jury: Roundup weed killer is major factor in man’s cancer. (2019.) Retrieved from https://apnews.com/1f0ecf279c1b4a0c941506e4c255bbd8
- U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Statistics Service, 2018 South Carolina Agricultural Statistics. (2018.) Retrieved from https://www.nass.usda.gov/Quick_Stats/Ag_Overview/stateOverview.php?state=SOUTH%20CAROLINA
- Clemson University, At $41.7 billion, agribusiness remains SC’s No. 1 industry. (2015.) Retrieved from http://newsstand.clemson.edu/mediarelations/at-41-7-billion-agribusiness-remains-scs-no-1-industry/
- FindLaw.com, Time Limits for Filing Product Liability Cases: State-by-State. (Undated.) Retrieved from https://injury.findlaw.com/product-liability/time-limits-for-filing-product-liability-cases-state-by-state.html
- Center for Environmental Health, Getting Toxic Chemicals Off The Menu, A School Guide To Safer Cereals. (Undated.) Retrieved from https://www.ceh.org/wp-content/uploads/Glyphosate-in-Schools-Report.pdf
- National Institutes of Health, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Glyphosate induced cell death through apoptotic and autophagic mechanisms. (2012.) Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22504123